Inner City Girl Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Inner City Girl

Martina has committed the unpardonable act of daring to secure a space at the prestigious Milverton High School, especially since she is from the 'inner city' or ghetto. Martina Fuller is a bright twelve year old girl with a very serious problem at the end of her primary school education. In September she will be attending the prestigious Milverton High School unlike her classmates who will attend the local secondary school. Milverton is for the rich and elite but Martina is from the ghetto and lives several miles away.
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Martina faces struggles and trials from the very first day she enters Milverton. These issues do not end until her fifth form year five years later.

On the first day of school Martina makes a deadly enemy who she nicknames 'Stone Cold'. In grade seven Stone Cold makes sure that Martins is the focus of much teasing and ridicule especially from the richer and fairer skinned students. Somehow they are placed in the same classes each year as they are both very bright. In grade nine there is a spate of thefts and Stone Cold starts a rumor that Martina is the thief. Martina fights her and they are both suspended. In grade ten Martina is abducted by a taxi driver and taken several miles away. She manages to escape but is seriously hurt. She is missing from home for four days until the police get a call about a girl who was found in the bushes. Martina is identified and transferred to the hospital in Town which is closer to her home. In grade eleven Stone Cold strikes again but it backfires as Martina goes back to the form room during lunch break to get a book and observes her enemy in the act of stealing from three other students. She reports it to the form teacher who carries out a search after lunch. Stone Cold is found in possession of the stolen items and becomes hysterical. It is revealed that she has psychological issues and is especially resentful of her mother. However, in all that ensues, Martina's name is cleared after so many years.

Everything at school is not all bad though. Ever since grade seven Martina had determined that she would endeavor to master at least one activity outside of her academics. She chooses swimming and does indeed excel. She gains recognition when she is placed on the school's swim team which is no small feat. She meets Tian who is two grades ahead of her. It is later revealed that he is her cousin. She is also placed on the debate team. Martina maintains her straight A streak in all subjects except Art and Craft. At the end of fifth form she is elected to be the valedictorian.

In between the issues at school and the small pockets of brightness she is bombarded with issues at home. Her mother is raising Martina and her older brother and younger sister all alone. Martina's brother drops out of school eventually and becomes a drug courier. Her sister's father would come around periodically and give a financial contribution towards his daughter. He is married with a good job and lives uptown. One summer he insists that he wants his daughter to meet her grandmother but he rapes her. This is revealed near the end of the novel when Martina confronts him. He later flees the country indefinitely and his wife is forced to pay a sum each month to maintain the child. As if these issues with her siblings are not enough Martina's mother becomes seriously ill. It appears to be terminal.

There are several mysterious occurrences that take place throughout the novel. The answers are not revealed until the end. One mystery is the wealthy gentleman who visits Martina while she is in the hospital. Also, several persons mistake her for someone else. This happens right through high school. The final mystery is the fact that her examination fees are paid. Her mother dies during this period and leaves her with a letter. The letter tells her who her father is. When Martina returns to school after the funeral the principal summons her to his office as there is someone to see her. She meets her father for the first time and he explains that he paid her hospital bill and her exam fees. He also explains that she resembles his family which is why she was frequently mistaken for his older daughter who also happened to be a student at Milverton. They get off to a rocky start but eventually things are smoothed out as he seeks to do right by her after having ignored her existence for all these years. He moves both Martina, her sister and their neighbor, Miss Turner who has been taking care of the family for years, out of the ghetto. Her brother is given a second chance by being enrolled in a skills training center and lives on the premises. Martina gets the highest scores in her examinations and gains a place in sixth form. It took years but at the end everything is all worked out.
Best part of story, including ending: Martina is a real girl with real issues. This quality makes the novel quite relevant to the target audience, especially those in the Caribbean where the novel is based. There is very little that is sugar-coated as we see the realities of the ghetto juxtaposed with the pristine upper class. We are forced to come to grips with the very real issue of class division as some students interact based on their bank account. We see Martina being able to hold her own even in the face of these difficulties.

Best scene in story: I can honestly say that I have no 'favorite' scene. There are many scenes that made me laugh: the descriptions of Martina's mother and her rainbow of wigs per outfit as well as the smell of the students feet when they were being searched for the stolen items and had to remove their shoes. There are many scenes that made me cry: We see Martina's mother growing weaker and eventually she dies of cervical cancer. Martina almost has a nervous breakdown as she copes with the after effects of the ordeal of being kidnapped and almost raped and murdered. There are scenes that made me feel smug: Andre, the captain of the basketball team likes Martina. Stone Cold is unmasked as the thief and Martina is vindicated. Only if one read this novel could it be explained why there was no one scene that could be set apart from the rest.

Opinion about the main character: Martina is a likable character simply because she faces her issues not with the typical optimistic outlook expected of a character, but is real in her emotional response. She cries, is angry, is amused and essentially is herself as a character. She is strong when she needs to be, diligent as is necessary and shows weakness and vulnerability appropriately.

The review of this Book prepared by Beverley Bowen-Evans a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Inner City Girl

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Black people in America/Europe Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Age 11-14 Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   scholar Age:    -   a teen Unusual characteristics:    -   Genius


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () City?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Inner City Girl

Colleen Smith-Dennis Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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